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Derek Bailey: And the Story of Free Improvisation

Lifts the lid on an artistic ferment which has defied every known law of the music business
This outstanding biography of the cult guitar player will likely cause you to abandon everything you thought you knew about jazz improvisation, post-punk and the avant-garde. Derek Bailey was at the top of his profession as a dance band and record-session guitarist when, in the early 1960s, he began playing an uncompromisingly abstract form of music. Today his anti-idiom of “Free Improvisation” has become the lingua franca of the “avant” scene, with Pat Metheny, John Zorn, David Sylvian and Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore among his admirers.

Reviews

  • “I am an enthusiast for the Watson method and I'm prepared to follow him, even to places where I wouldn't under other circumstances go ... His attack, his singularity. His indecent decency.”
  • “A major achievement, as full of dogged wit and irascible single-mindedness as Bailey himself”
  • “The ideal biographer of Derek Bailey.”
  • “The most renowned member of the British free-form jazz movement.”
  • “A towering giant of the guitar. Singular, unique.”
  • “One of the most original and idiosyncratic musicians I have ever known.”